Here at IVG, our focus over the years has primarily been on the games themselves, and we haven’t ventured much into India’s competitive gaming or e-sports scene. But when there’s talk of an Indian gaming carnival all over social media and promises of Rs 1.5 crore in prize money being made by the organisers, you can’t help but sit up and take notice.
However, the moment we actually started paying attention to what IGC was promising, and the way its organisers – WTF Eventz, went about attempting to achieve it, it seemed clear to us that the organisers were either too naïve to realise that they couldn’t pull it off, or that it was just a scam they were pulling all along. What’s certain, however, is that IGC has been an utter failure, a blot on India’s growing competitive gaming scene, and an embarrassing portrayal of Indian gaming on the world stage. Poor management and substandard equipment were just the tip of the iceberg. Events and entire games were cancelled, electricity supply was inadequate, the entire first day of the event was cancelled, and we’re still not sure if the winners will receive the prize money they were promised. It’s not what you would expect from India’s biggest competitive gaming spectacle.
To anyone who’s been around the gaming industry for a while, IGC seemed fishy from the beginning. The promise of Rs 1.5 crore in prize money without a single sponsor is beyond absurd. Each time the organisers were confronted on their lack of sponsorship, their response was evasive, defensive, and often went off on tangents about how rather than being sceptical, we should all be thankful and supportive of them for putting India on the global e-sports map. Soon, they stopped allowing users to make posts on their Facebook page, and started indiscriminately banning users who raised doubts about IGC’s legitimacy.
These doubts were valid. WTF Eventz has no track record. It was founded only earlier this year and the company wasn’t even worth a tenth of the prize money it was offering. From initially claiming that IGC had sponsors they weren’t willing to reveal, WTF later said that they were funding the event, including the prize money, themselves along with the help of multiple unnamed investors. When asked who these sponsors and investors were, they asked users to visit their offices for this information. It seems bizarre that an event organiser would be so secretive about its sponsors, when the whole point of sponsoring an event is for a brand to get its name out there.
The Game Ministry, Erodov and other websites have investigated the legitimacy of IGC and while their findings weren’t surprising, the incompetence with which the event has been carried out is baffling. For a jist of it, you can check out the 20-odd page IGC thread over at the forums. However, the purpose of this write-up is not to try and expose the scam that is IGC, but to simply bring to light the fact that this event is not a true representation of e-sports in India. From Re-inforcement’s Indian Cyber Gaming Championship to Xtreme Gaming’s BYOC to DSK Supinfocom’s Game Kshetra, there are several e-sports events that are being professionally organised and smoothly executed in India on a regular basis.
It’s important that India’s enthusiastic competitive gamers aren’t simply swayed by promises of big prize money, but instead judge future competitions based on the track records of their organisers as well as the sponsors backing them.